Finally, after such a painfully long wait, the Caps are really back to play meaningful hockey. And it sucks. Caps earned and then carefully beat the lead in Game One against the New York Islanders.
After a goalless first period, TJ Oshie scored a couple of power-play goals in the second – first on a rebound, the second from a net crash. Jordan Eberle got a drug goal against a little lazy D and poor reading from Holtby when we went into the third period, where Anders Lee got more of the same to tie the game.
That battle became a lead on the islands in the worst way: a short goal by Josh Bailey. Anthony Beauvillier scored New York̵
Caps lose. The Islanders lead the series 1-0.
- During the first period forward the islands Anders Lee put a late, blindside hit on Nicklas Backstrom. Backström played a little after that, but he did not return during the second period. Backstrom had already been beaten during the round robin, and there is good reason to worry if he will be available for Game Two.
- Lee paid for that hit, and he may have to pay again if DOPS pays attention.
- Lee’s bad hit was one in a long list of penalties in this game. The islands had six in the first period, and the subject of our next ball got two PPGs in the second period.
- It’s your player, TJ Oshie. He gets second chances, he crashes the net, he saves goals at the end of the ice. Oshie is never the guy you worry about raising his play for the playoffs.
- Meanwhile, Michal Kempny had some nice marking and backchecking in two back-to-back shifts that erased Caps lead. These goals are also at Holtby, plus Carlson fails not to interrupt Eberle’s shot, but Kempny for me is the escape here.
- John Carlson returned from injury to play in this game. In retrospect, maybe not a good idea.
Game 1! #JoeBSuitOfTheNight #CapsIsles pic.twitter.com/vKvI2EKkb6
– Ian Oland (@ianoland) August 12, 2020
Given the plethora of chances in the power game, the Caps did just fine. But they could not control the game during five-on-five, and they looked exaggerated when playing without the puck. It’s not a deviation from how their regular season went, and as much as we hoped the pandemic break would restore things, that’s probably not the case.
Now they may have to deal with Game Two while missing three centers (Backstrom to injury, Or to quarantine, Kuznetsov to he-will-play-but-he-been-really-bad for a while-now). It’s still early in this series, but it’s never too early to dig deep. We need a lot more from this team.
Full RMNB coverage of WSH / NYI Game One